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Prolific beggar hit with Middlesbrough Town Centre ban

A nuisance beggar who plagued Middlesbrough shoppers has been hit with a town centre ban.

Kelly Ward falsely claimed to be homeless while scrounging cash from residents and visitors, both during the day and at night.

Now a civil injunction order secured by Middlesbrough Council bans the 35-year-old from the town's main retail and leisure areas.

The order - granted by Middlesbrough County Court - follows numerous complaints from members of the public

Despite obtaining a Big Issue vendor's badge, Ward still chose begging as the way to feed her drug addiction. 

She also slept in a tent in the town centre area on numerous occasions despite holding keys to her own accommodation.

Under the injunction - which remains in force until July 24, 2021 - Ward is now forbidden from entering much of Middlesbrough town centre and from enticing or begging from any person in the town.

Any breach of the injunction is classed as a civil contempt of court, and would see Ward hit with an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison. 

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: "Middlesbrough's a generous and compassionate town - there's really no need for anyone to be homeless, let alone begging on the streets.

"The support's there for those in genuine need, and we work really hard to help people access services.

"But this sort of behaviour drags Middlesbrough down and destroys jobs and futures by putting people off from coming into town to shop or enjoy a night out.

"This exclusion zone sends a clear message that we won't let selfish people bring Middlesbrough down."

View the Town Centre ban map

To report anti-social behaviour call 01642 726001 or email asbunit@middlesbrough.gov.uk 

To report a crime or criminal activity, call Cleveland Police on 101 or in an emergency 999.